Last day of campaign for Nandyal bypoll, 'not a referendum,' says TDP
It is curtains down on campaigns for the Nandyal bypolls. The high-stakes byelection scheduled to take place on Wednesday has turned into a proxy war between Jagan Mohan Reddy and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. With less than 48 hours for the bypoll, the TDP has said that the outcome will not be a referendum the Naidu government.
While analysts have been deeming the bypoll the biggest challenge for both, TDP and YSR Congress, ahead of the 2019 assembly elections, the TDP has brushed off the bypoll as a 'small event'. Despite the bypoll being, in TDP's own terms, a 'small event', all leaders including Chandrababu Naidu are going all in to ensure victory to the party's candidate.
"The byelection to Nandyal Assembly seat cannot be termed a referendum for the Telugu Desam Party government. It is too small an event to do so. TDP will strive for victory, in any election however big or small but a bypoll can't be a referendum," said Y S Chowdary of the TDP. The statement comes at a time when the Nandyal bypoll has turned into a battle of prestige for leaders of both parties.
Countdown for Nandyal bypoll
Over 2.30 lakh voters are eligible to cast their votes in the by-election. The Election Commission will use Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in the bypoll for the very first time. While there are 13 contestants including one from the Congress, the fight is between the TDP and YSR Congress candidates. Since 2014, parties have kept up the tradition of not contesting but unanimous electing someone in a seat vacated due to the death of sitting legislators. Nandyal is different.
Jagan's YSR Congress decided to contest the bypoll after Bhuma Nagi Reddy's death. Reddy had switched loyalties to TDP from YSR Congress. Jagan claimed the seat to be his party's bastion and entered the electoral fray. TDP has fielded Bhuma's nephew Brahmananda Reddy, who is facing a tough challenge from Silpa Chandra Mohan Reddy who is contesting from a YSR Congress seat.